Designing User Experiences for Gender Equality

The Global Women’s Project (GWP) is a non-profit organisation based in Melbourne dedicated to creating a gender equal world. GWP support women to gain the skills, resources and training they need to make an income and to lead change ~ for themselves, for their families, for other women, for their communities and for gender equality.

The Global Women’s Project primary products are our programs. GWP currently work in Nepal and Cambodia in partnership with grassroots women’s organisations to develop and deliver programs that to a gap in the labour market. GWP’s focus is on supporting programs that challenge traditional gender stereotypes and are innovative in the local context.

The Brief

The Global Women’s Project want to develop a new website that better captures what they do, the impact of their work and a website which facilitates easy donations and involvement. This is in aid of shifting GWP’s supporter and donor base to higher net worth individuals and professionals with a greater gender balance and broader appeal.

At a very basic level, the following objectives were envisaged:

  • Online Merchandise store
  • Donations portal — to facilitate one-off, regular giving and specific campaigns
  • Contact form & Newsletter Sign-up
  • Status bar showcasing funding progress for new programs, with each program clicking through to a landing page
  • Ability to embed video and high-quality imagery easily
  • Rotating campaigns with click-through
  • Preference to Squarespace CMS
  • Website design

Stakeholder Meeting

The first step was to meet with the stakeholders and discuss with them the scope in the project and gain clarity of their current user experience, what their challenges are and what their expectations and measurement for success may be.

During the stakeholder meeting we learnt that there were key areas which needed to be explored in relation to who the current user was and what the stakeholders envisaged the target user would be moving forward. We also learnt that there were other stakeholders which we needed to take into account. Having to take stakeholders decision to develop their new website on Squarespace added an unexpected complexity we also needed to keep mindful of as we progress into the design phase of this project.

With the insight from our stakeholder meeting and the project brief as a general guide we set on our research journey..


From the input we received from the stakeholders, it became apparent that we need to conduct extensive user research. It was not only unclear what the persona of the existing target users are, and what differentiates the existing user from what the stakeholders believed should be their target user moving forward.

To see the full results in all our research, refer to the Appendix.

In this section:

  • Competitive & Comparative Analysis
  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • User Interviews
  • Affinity Mapping
  • Problem Statement
  • Hypothesis
  • User Survey
  • User Flows
  • User Storyboard
  • Persona

Competitive Analysis

Our first step was to conduct a competitive analysis of the organisations GWP perceived to be the main charity organisations that potential donors go to. From the competitive analysis we conducted it became very clear that GWP’s website is dramatically lacking in core functionality and features where were a standard on other charity websites; this assessment provided us with initial agenda to what information we needed to validate through the user interviews we planned on conducting next.

To get a sense of how GWP compares with other charity organisations, we conducted a competitive analysis with organisations GWP perceive to be the main charity organisations that potential donors go to:

  • Women for Women International
  • International Women’s Development Agency
  • One Girl
  • Care Australia
  • Save the Children
  • Actionaid Australia
  • World Vision Australia
  • International Needs Australia

From the competitive analysis, it became very clear that GWP’s website is dramatically lacking in core functionality and features that were a standard on other charity websites; this assessment provided us with initial agenda to what information we needed to validate through the user interviews we planned on conducting next.

Summary of findings from competitive analysis:

  • The Donate button is not on the homepage.
  • There is no link to the Store on the main site; the online store is accessed from the
  • website.
  • There is no information about current campaigns running.
  • There is no information about financials.
  • There is no Search function

Heuristic Evaluation



As a final exercise, we conducted a first-click-test study measuring the effectiveness and usability of existing The Global Women’s Project website and Information Architecture.

In the One-Click-Test exercise we asked users to complete three tasks:

Task A

Donate to any of The Global Women’s Project initiatives

From test results it was clear that only 60% of users were able to easily locate where to donate to The Global Women’s Project. This was also the hardest task to complete for most users completing it on average in 16.83 seconds (lowest 9.29 seconds & highest 19.84 seconds).

From tracking mouse clicks 60% of users clicked on “invest” while others clicked on “impact or the main hero image.

Task B

Locate which programs / initiatives does The Global Women’s Project run

From test results it was clear that all users were able to locate which programs & initiatives The Global Women’s Project runs with an average test time of 4.67 seconds (lowest 2.44 seconds & highest 11.20 seconds).

From the tracking mouse clicks 80% users clicked on “What We Do” while others clicked on “The Movement”.

Task C

Please locate the outcomes of the initiatives / Programs The Global Women’s Project run.

From test results 80% of users were able to locate the outcomes of the programs The Global Women’s Project run with an average test time of 2.76 Seconds (lowest 1.38 seconds & highest 23.58 seconds).

From tracking mouse clicks 80% of users clicked on “impact” while others clicked on “what we do”.

Key Considerations:

  • There is a clear need to address the challenges users found in locating where there should go to in order to place a donation.
  • Furthermore, whist users were able to find the location of The Global Women’s Project initiatives and the impact that these initiatives more than 20% of users weren’t able to find this information logically and easily.With the average attention span of online users being less than 3 seconds per page, it is critical that this uncertainty and confusion is eliminated so users are able to locate the information which is crucial to them building empathy and confidence

User Interviews

To find out more about the prospective donors, how they feel about donating, and what motivates them to donate, we conducted user research interviews with 10 participants; 3 males and 7 females in ages ranging from early 20’s to late 60’s. Sessions were performed on an individual basis with each session lasting approximately 10–15 minutes. Our findings were conclusive as to what the key concerns users have when it comes choosing which charity to follow and donate to.

The first part of the interview gathered data about the demographics.
The second part of the interview gathered qualitative data about their behaviours.

Notable Quotes

We got some notable quotes from the user interviews. These views are common concerns reflected by the users.

“I trust the people who ask me for donation” ~User 9
“I like to see feedback and evidence of on the grounds help, and that the money is actually doing something” ~ User 2
First we check if the place is legitimate. There are scammers who only want to take you money and we want to make sure the place is real”. ~ User 6

Affinity Mapping

User interviews has provided us with context to from which we were able to compile an affinity map where we could identify similar key challenges users were faced with. By collating our data, we identified some key user trends:

  • Users need to know what an organisation does and if they’re trustworthy and credible before donating.
  • Users hear about, and are more trustworthy of organisations promoted by their friends.
  • The donation process has to be quick and simple. Problem Statement

Problem Statement

By carefully analysing the results from the affinity mapping exercise, three main themes stood out to us which we felt was important to address in the problem statement:

  • Trust Confidence and trust in an organisation
  • Allocation — Knowing their donation is going where they want it to go
  • Impact — Empathy for the cause & seeing they are having an impact

From the above, we formulated problem statement that represents the core issue faced by GWP in this brief:

“Mila needs to trust and have a clear understanding of GWP’s cause because she wants to feel confident donating her money”.


“We believe that by highlighting GWP’s programs and impact online we will provide clearer organisation goals, increase empathy to our cause and encourage a greater number of new visitors to support our cause.
We will know this to be true when we see a 20% increase in the number of donors within 3 months”.

User Survey

From the problem statement and the hypothesis, we had a clear definition of the emotions and needs our users needed in order to have the user experience that will lead to a successful transaction with GWP; confidence, clarity, credibility, empathy. However, we needed more insight into what people value in a charity website so we conducted a user survey to get more information.

Taking this into account, we wanted to validate how target users from all demographics foresee the importance of specific content may be on the website. We compiled a survey using Google Forms, and sent them out using Facebook, LinkedIn and our expanded personal networks. We surveyed a total of 32 respondents.

Key Findings:

Less than 15% of our respondents know about GWP.

  • The average donation is between $10 — $50.
  • Overall, the Financial Reporting & Expenditure information is fundamental for most users.
  • The importance of an online store for users was clearly of low to medium importance. This indicates that charities must present its online store not as a money-making practice but as a fundraising or a value add to its charitable causes.
  • Monthly and Quarterly newsletters seem to be a popular choice for most users as a way to be kept up-to-date on the activities of their supported charity.

User Flows



In this stage, we brainstormed to generate ideas for the new design.

Information Architecture

From the research we have conducted it became apparent that the way users were able find specific information relating and how it was labeled were crucial in order for GWP to gain the empathy and confidence of potential users to GWP’s cause and from this to empower users with choice to support GWP through monetary donations.

For instance, almost all users found that the label Invest for donations clashed deeply with their logic on what they felt that the act of donating meant in comparison to the act of investing meant.

In order to validate how to best label the relevant information categories and how they should be present hierarchically on the new website re-design we have conducted the following IA workshops with potential users.

Card Sorting

In order to ascertain the Information Architecture & Site Map as accurately as possible we have conducted a series of card sort workshops with users as follows:

Open Card Sort

In a separate Card Sorting exercise, we provided users with the information sub- categories and asked them to label them based on what they felt were the appropriate labels that would offer the easiest logical path to the information they contain.

Closed Card Sort

In the Closed Card Sort exercise, we provided users with the categories to validated that users are easily identifying the logic of their labels in relation to the information that they contain.

A Key finding of the closed card sort conducted on 4 users was that users struggled with the term “Grassroots Partners” and did not clearly understand under which label to place this information category.

Site Map

Site mapping was a pivotal element of laying out the site. We wanted to get our users through all of the information that was relevant to them as quickly and efficiently as possible. This meant creating logical groupings of content, and laying out a natural progression from page to page through hyperlinking.

Our research and card sort exercises facilitated the construction of the site map, and we came up with 3 key categories:

  • About Us (who GWP are, and are they credible/trustworthy)
  • What We Do (what are we working on and how it helps)
  • Make A Difference (how the user can contribute)

Concept Map

Concept mapping allowed us to visualise how the needs and objectives of every party related to our key problem statement, and how the Global Women’s Project is linked to new and returning users. The key considerations outlined in the map directed the design phase of the project.

Key Considerations:

  • GWP needs greater visibility in order to attract new visitors
  • New visitors need to see that they can trust GWP to make a difference where it matters to them
  • Returning donors need to see how their donations are helping
  • The donation process needs to be quick and easy

Content Priority Matrix

We created a priority matrix to determine features we considered higher priority vs lower priority. We mapped the features based on high/low benefits vs high/low effort. Once mapped, we used this information to select the features to include in the MVP, and the ultimately the final (ideal) version.

Design Studio

Conducting the design studio workshop proved to be very insightful and productive; as a team we explored various site layouts and together discovered and identified key features which offered great functionality for the user in a manner which streamlined the site design. The Design studio also uncovered new ideas to which we could apply content which we believed was necessary to instil confidence and trust between the charity and its users.

Using a simple voting system, we nominated which design features would offer the best value to the user whilst also giving The Global Women’s Project website the contemporary look and feel envisaged by stakeholders.

Key Findings:

  • Donations Mega-Menu: Dynamic donation panel or “mega-menu” to provide users access to detailed donation function from the header on any page.
  • User Profile / Account: Donor profiles that track individual contribution history, and provide a timeline of the part a user plays in the GWP story.
  • Detailed Campaign page: Detailed program pages with goal tracking, and an overview of the impact a contribution could make (eg. $10 could buy a girl school supplies for 3 months)

Paper Sketches

The design studio session provided us with a conceptual framework that we needed to continue.

The concepts were transferred onto paper as sketches.


Wireframing helped us to create the content hierarchy within each page of the website. Like with the sitemap, our primary objective was giving users the information they needed first and foremost, and allowing easy navigation between pages.

The wireframes were used to test how users respond to the navigation.

Clickable Prototype

After testing the initial user flow using the wireframes, we developed a clickable prototype


We used our wireframes to test with users. Our intention here was to gain some insight into how users would move through the site, and if the information architecture was logical when in prototype form. The test was centered around the primary site navigation.

The testing scenario was kept broad in order to test user’s first actions and gain some insight into the natural progression of each tester.

Scenario & Tasks

Basing on our initial research and hypotheses, we formed a test-scenario and a set of tasks that were read and assigned to users during the test.

You’ve heard about the Global Women’s Project, and came to their website. What would you do from here (home page)?

Key Findings

The results validated the hypotheses we had about users to the site. The test showed the following results:

  • Validated that users try to learn about the who the organisation is and what they do. They visited an average of 4–6 pages before donating.
  • There was still some confusion regarding About Us and What We Do, and how they differ. This requires further testing.
  • The label Make A Difference was considered vague; user’s weren’t sure if it was them who could make the difference personally, or if it was the organisation making the difference.

Actions taken

Based on these findings, we reiterated our design and made changes based on the feedback.

  • Change Make a Difference to Get Involved


The findings and recommendations in this section is based on our research, findings, and testing.
The recommendations we present are categorised into two types:

  • MVP recommendations, which are recommendations that are possible to implement now;
  • Future recommendations, which are recommendations that require further investigation or are more complex to implement.

In this section:

  • MVP Recommendations
  • Future Recommendations

MVP recommendations:

We provided base level recommendations for the MVP launch of the new site. From this point forward there are a number of directions to move in:

  1. If Squarespace is used as a CMS, it is most important to consider the structure of content within each page:
  • Use images and video to break up text segments
  • Place non/vital content deeper within the site (eg. Full GWPmember profiles)
  • • Keep the header navigation as simple as possible (About Us, What We Do, Get Involved)
  • • Launch the MVP and use google analytics and surveys to trackhow the content is being viewed and whether or not the hypothesis is being met (more viewers + more trust = more donations)
  1. If using a more flexible CMS like WordPress, more liberty could be taken with site layout and function:
  2. Implement a dynamic donation panel in the header allowing forquick and easy donations
  3. Either launch with an MVP and evaluate with google analytics +surveys or produce a high/fidelity prototype including content to conduct further tests before going liveFuture recommendationsIf you find yourself blessed by the web development fairy, we can recommend a few options that will add value and help to distinguish GWP within the market:Individual project campaigns• Progress goals to encourage accomplishment • Promote sharing through social media

User/Donor accounts + profiles

• Track donation history; Provide an individual user “timeline” or story that users can return to and easily access updates on the projects they have supported

Going forward, here are our recommendations for the GWP website:

  1. Show credibility and promote trust through showing timely content that reflects what GWP does and how it makes an impact.
  2. Encourage users to share content (particularly on social media).

3. Reduce repeat/similar content and make it more concise under fewer pages.
4. Provide a clear, simple and efficient way for users to make a donation.

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